tv Charlie Rose WHUT September 12, 2012 6:00am-7:00am EDT
murray, he is the new u.s. open tennis champion for 2012. >> i was in a bit of shock, a bit of disbelief and then i just felt very, very relieved. i've lost four slam finals in the past and i know how tough it is to win one of those events. the older i was getting having not won one i was thinking to myself was it ever going to happen. so i was just very relieved to have finally done it. >> rose: we conclude this evening with bob woodward. his new book is called "the price of politics." >> it hangs over us. i tell you, the average person in the united states doesn't realize if this isn't straightened out in some form and we get a default or we go to the brink again people... the value of their homes, the bank accounts they have, any investment, anything of monetary value is going to be in jeopardy
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: andy murray is here, he is the 2012 u.s. open champion. inform a dramatic five-set match last night, he beat the defending champion novak djokovic. tom fordice of the bbc said this "andy murray's nerve mangling history making triumph was many things: one of the great finals of the modern era, a late-night
thriller from the city that never sleeps, a breathtaking demonstration of physical strength and mental fortitude. it was also the perfect book end to a few months that british sports can scarcely believe and will never forget." here is a look at match point. >> great britain has a men's grand slam champion! andy murray! >> rose: andy murray became the first british man to win a grand slam since fred perry in 1936. that was 76 years ago. his win caps off a summer in which he was a frun at wimbledon and won the gold medal at the london olympics. i'm pleased to have him here at this table for the first time. welcome. >> thank you very much. thanks for having me. >> rose: go back to the australian open. is there a direct line from where you lost in the finals in a five-hour match to that match
and to the u.s. open last night? >> i think so. i think i learned a lot from that match. you know, some of the big matches in the past that i lost and maybe hadn't felt like i played my best. but i played a great match with novak there. it was... yeah, five hours is a brutal match physically, very demanding and i gave 110% and i learned a lot from that and definitely helped me yesterday. >> rose: and then winning... losing at wimbledon. what was the impact of that? >> that was probably the toughest loss of my career. you know, obviously playing in front of a home crowd at wimbledon is... >> rose: who desperately wanted you to win. >> it's been a long time since any brit won a slam and also wimbledon so it would have been nice to won that one. i was very upset for a few days afterwards but i got great support after the tournament and that really picked me up to get myself ready for the olympics. >> rose: it reminds me of rory
mcelroy who came back from having blown the masters to win the u.s. open in a dramatic way. you know, today not letting defeat get in the way of victory the next time. >> yeah, that was it. i mean, you know, i was up a couple of sets and then it got back to two sets all and, you know, i went off the court, i went to the bathroom and just thought to myself, you know, i'm not going to let this one slip away, i'm going to fight for every point, give 110% and leave everything out there on the court. and i just managed to get hit in the end. >> rose: how tired were you at that moment? >> my feet were really, really sore. i felt okay, the rest of my body felt oak but my feet were really really painful. it wasn't too hot last night which helped both of those. some of the rallies, if it had been hot it would have been very very tough on the body.
but, yeah. my feet were... hurt a lot. >> rose: the first moment when you saw the ball go out and you knew you'd won your first grand slam. >> yeah, i was in a bit of shock bit of disbelief and then i just felt very, very relieved. i've lost, you know, four slam finals in the past and i know how tough it is to win one of those events and, you know, the older i was getting, having not won one i was thinking to myself was it ever going to happen. so i was very relieved to have finally done it. ivan lend also lost his first four grand slam finals. does that make a difference in a way we can't appreciate or does it make it clear what he's added to your game? >> i think the things he will have helped me with you may not necessarily just see on the tennis court. a lot of the stuff we discussed, you know, away from the court, mentally in terms of how you prepare and practice for these
events and how you go about your business throughout the whole year. you know, he was one of the most professional players that's ever played the game. he had a tremendous work ethic and some of that has rubbed off on me a bit and also he had the same experiences as me. >> rose: losing the four. >> four finals before he won his first one. >> rose: one of the things he's been quoted as saying is that he had to say to you, look, tell me everything so you'll trust me. what did he mean? >> i think it's just about being open. >> rose: connected to somebody. >> he likes honesty. if i say to him stop that, ivan, i don't like the way you're doing that, he doesn't take offense, he knows what it was like when he was playing.
in some ways we're similar, in some ways we're quite far apart so he's... for me it's been refreshing to see how much he wants to learn and do his job so well. a lot of players that have been successes and might think it's my way or the highway type thing but he's been very open and listened to not just me but the whole of my team and, yeah, he's been a really good addition. >> rose: let's talk about the people who were part of winning this as well as you, of which you are obviously extraordinary part of it and the tip of the spear. there's your mother who i just met. >> yes. >> rose: your early coach. a scottish champion. what did she add? >> well, she... i mean, obviously i probably wouldn't have got into tennis if i wasn't for my mom because she played it when she was younger so, you know, she was able to help me and my brother when we were young, help us with technique and some coaching and helping us enjoy it because in scotland we really have many tennis players
or coaches at that time of a high level. so, you know, to have our mom there was great. but, you know, tennis takes a lot of sacrifice from your parents. there's a lot of traveling. it can be an expensive support. and they... sport. they sacrifice add lot for me and my mother. >> rose: your mother was a player, she had been a coach as well but you left home at 15 to go to barcelona. >> yeah, and that was a decision that i made myself and, you know i'm lucky that my parents kind of accepted that decision. it can't be easy to send your kids away from home at that age. i didn't have the right environment or the facilities in scotland to try and fulfill my dreams. >> rose: what were your dreams? >> well, i wanted to get into the top hundred in the world at tennis. that was my main goal when i was around that age of 15 and i went to spain to do that they have the best track record at producing players at that level.
>> rose: barcelona. >> yes, barcelona, yeah. >> rose: by 18 in your opinion the top what? >> i finished... in my 18th year i finished about around 60, 65 in the world. >> rose: and when were you in the top ten? >> when i was 20. i think when i was 19. i think i finished the year around 11 or so or something like that. >> rose: what's fascinating about that the this to me is understanding what young kids show in terms of potential so that somehow they emerge and they know you have the stuff to become a great champion. many don't and some do. you and also novak showed that. i mean, you played him when you were 11. what is it you show? you just are better than everybody around you when you're nine, ten, 11? you show potential to move to the next level? >> i think there's different ways of looking at it when you're watching some kids play. py never played with a lot of power. i played with a lot of feel and
touch and variety whereas a lot of the guys i was playing with were big guys and i was finding different ways to win against them. someone like novak, he's an incredible athlete. i think when you spot someone like that at a young age you can see that if you can work on their game a bit they can be top top players. >> rose: speed, hand-eye coordination, strength, everything. >> his speed and his flex isn't incredible. he's obviously worked on it a lot sense he was a kid but, you know, we grew up playing together and we've got different game styles, different bodies. we play a very different type of tennis it's fun to play against him. >> rose: how would you describe the difference? you play a more complete game in terms of the variety of arsenals you use and he overpower it is opponent or what? >> i think from... my opinion of his game is that he's so
consistent. he's like a wall, he's so fast around the court. he reaches every single ball and... well, so do you. >> i don't reach as many balls but i try. i play again like i said a little bit more variety. i try and change the pace of the ball a little bit so i don't give my opponent the same shot in a row and some... i guess and club tennis you would say sort of junk. >> rose: but, i mean, mcenroe had that, that's what he had, the capacity... a variety of shots that he used that suggest and extraordinary connection between hand and racket. >> yeah, i think someone like mcenroe, obviously when i was growing up i didn't see him but i watched videos of him and i loved watching him play and he made the game look so easy and that's one of the things i think you also spot if you're looking for a young kid if you're
looking for a young kid that doesn't look like they're putting loads of effort and they're still winning and making their opponent do the running even if they are just standing still. mcenroe had that. >> rose: i want to come back to that point. here's the other thing, many people who have written about you said you've had this complete game. novak said "he's got a cot people are game, he can do anything." but they somehow sense that in this year you have more confidence in going for the win does that resonate with you. >> yeah, that was one of the things i spoke about with ivan in the past when i was younger. you know, i played too far behind the baseline and be a bit passive because i was able and quick enough to get to a lot of balls i would play it defensively and rely on speed to try and win matches and, you know, ivan, when i spoke to him before we started working together he said, you know, you need to go for it. you can't sit back and let these
guys dominate you and dictate you. it's not fun, it's painful on the body and you need to make them do some of the running as well. so that's what i tried to do. >> rose: the thing that amazes me about people of your level is how... the preparedness for the shot when it comes. you see the ball coming off the racket, obviously, pretty much if you play somebody the kind of game and they're going to hit that shot, but the you look at pro players and good players it's how prepared they are. it's almost like it's in slow motion. >> yeah, i think that's the thing that you see when you're watching top professionals in most sports. it looks like they have so much time even though the ball is coming so quickly and it doesn't feel like it has a lot of time when i'm on the court. i feel often like a i'm very rushed but i think that's what happens in a lot of top sports. it's amazing how much time it looks like players have on the ball. >> rose: and i think one of the... it may have... i'm not sure who it was said the genius
in hockey is not to go where the pub is, twrob the puck is going to be. and you know how... to go where the ball is going to be. >> yeah, i think anticipation in today's game because it's so quick, it's hugely important. like i was saying, with novak, for example, he's... he's incredibly quick. so, so flexible. i'm not as fast, probably, or as flexible as him but i try to anticipate the ball well and that's something that has helped me since i've been a kid just learning to anticipate and read the game well. you know, that's helped me when i moved over to spain and i was 15 i was playing with big guys that were 22 to 28 years old and i was 15 so i could beat them with power and anticipation and all of those things so i learned a lot when i was over there. >> rose: what do you need to improve in your game? >> i mean, there's a lot of
things i'd still like to improve. i mean, i can still serve better. i think i've improved that a bit this year but i'm still looking to improve that. making sure that when i get ahead that i don't let my opponent back in. >> rose: well, you did that last night. >> yeah, a few times. >> rose: (laughs) well, big time. he won the second set. everybody in that stadium was thinking "oh, my god." >> yeah, well, i was up a set and 4-0 and then he came back to five al in the second and i just managed to get that then the third and fourth sets... >> rose: 6-1, 6-2 as i remember. >> yeah. and it was... >> rose: so what was the difference between set three and set two? >> it can happen when you're playing against top player, as you know. why was the fifth set 6-2 to me? >> rose: i don't know, i'm asking. (laughs) >> i don't know either. if i knew the answer i wouldn't
have allowed it to happen. but it can happen when you're playing against the best players you always expect them to come back and you're just... over the course of five sets you're not going to be able to sustain your best tennis for the whole time. >> rose: it's interesting. you have to let the game come to you. there's a kind of... sports has a rhythm to it you know? in the n.b.a., for example, they will say "i know they're going to make a run for hit in the third quarter." you understand there's going to be a moment when your opponents or opponent is going to give you the best he has and it may get them into a rhythm or momentum. and they take charge. >> and you need to make sure you're prepared for that when you're young and inexperienced when it does start happening. it's easy to panic and completely lose sense of your tactics and, you know, the way you're playing and you start rushing and playing too quickly between the points and you start thinking.
the older you get, the more matches you played, i've probably played 500 matches on the a.t.p. tour. you learn how to deal with those situations a bit better. >> rose: what's the difference in playing roger and playing novak? >> very different players. you know, roger... >> rose: he's graceful and... >> yes, it's quite effortless when he's playing for the rest of the tour pretty much it looks like we're putting a lot more effort than him. >> rose: now why is that? his game is so smooth and it's almost... >> gliding. >> there's a lot of thought that goes into it. he plays with a very loose racket so that the tension of his racket is very low so he doesn't need to swing as hard at the ball as some of the other guys because it comes off his racket a lot quicker he plays very close to the baseline. he has very classical technique. he just looks good when he's on
the court. i mean, there's not many guys that are able to do that. and, you know, he's one of the best players that's ever played the game. >> rose: how about rafa? >> well, rafa and roger are almost complete opposites. one lefty, one righty. >> rose: one's better on grass, one's better on clay. >> and the brute force that raffa plays with. the intensity he has from the first point to last. he's one of the best competitors i think tennis has ever seen and probably won't see for a while. he's like a jimmy connors, i think, that sort of energy and enthusiasm every time he steps on the court. >> rose: is he physically stronger than everybody else? >> i don't know. i think mentally he's one of the strongest players ever. physically i don't know whether he's stronger than some of the other guys but i think mentally you know he keeps such a high level for so long, his focus is so, so good, for someone that's
been so successful at a young age. he was number two in the world when he was 17 years old and he's been top two or three in the world, you know, from 17 through to 25. it's been eight years. he's been right at the top of the game and i think that's very impressive for someone who started at such a young age. >> rose: it's remarkable, the last 30 grand slams have been won... the last 30 grand slams, 29 won by either raffa-- before last night, raffa or roger or novak. 29 of the 30 grand slams. >> yeah. it's been amazing. i mean, the consistency they've had. especially last two years. novak, the dominance he's shown. >> rose: yeah, that was amazing. when he was coming on... i mean, he was having a greater year than anybody'd ever seen! >> it was an amazing year. he didn't lose a match until the french open, which is in may. incredible. i think it's the best year we've ever mean? tennis and may never see again.
>> rose: can you explain it? >> well, no. i mean confidence is huge in sports and he... you know, he won the davis cup for his country at the end of the previous year and he said that that was what lifted him. he felt great after that. gave him all the confidence in the world and unfortunately i ran into him in the aussie open that year and... >> rose: (laughs) >> the rest is history. >> rose: do you have any sense of your potential? >> i think right now i haven't... i mean, when i was younger you always dream, you know, of winning grand slams or getting to number one in the world and, you know, i've got to number two in the world and it's taken me a long time to win a grand slam. so now that i've won the first one, i'd obviously like to try to go on and win more but i was just so relieved to get one. >> rose: it's a break through. >> yeah.
i didn't know whether or not one was going to be a there at the end of my career. >> rose: do you feel different? do you feel in a sense that you have crossed some barrier that now gives you renewed momentum and strength and mental satisfaction? >> i feel... like i said, i feel relieved. i'll know probably when i step back on the tennis court again, when i start practicing and training again how different i feel as a player and how much confidence i will have gained from it. right now i'm obviously still letting everything sink in and still enjoying it. yeah, i'll know in a few weeks. >> rose: you went to bed last night about 5:00 a.m. >> yeah, up at 6:30. >> rose: for first of many television interviews. we thank you for making us a part of what you have done. tennis... it's interesting in tennis today because first of all there are no americans and we certainly hope that some will come up to challenge you guys and be part of that because we're americans but at the same
time unlike golf which seems to have a different champion every time-- rory is trying to suggest otherwise-- tennis has had this really wonderful competition between three and now four and you were part of it even before you won your first grand slam which makes you... i mean, that kind of thing has always been exciting for sports when you had rivalries and people that were a certain level you didn't know who was going to win but you knew it was most likely to be one of them. >> yeah, i think i know for myself when i was growing up i would watch sampras, agassi, i loved watching. i remember staying up late when they played in the final of the u.s. open and a packed crowd they got a standing ovation for last game of the match and that's the sort of thing inspires kids to play and gets people interested in the sport. so i think just now tennis is in a good place and i'm happy to be
proud of that. >> you like so many other young athletes when you were 10 and 11 were out practicing and hitting shots and thinking to yourself "i'm serving, it's the fifth set at wimbledon, if i get this in, i win wimbledon." >> it's amazing how many times you tell yourself that. >> rose: thank you, andy. great to have you here. andy murray, 2012 u.s. open champion on. won the olympics, an extraordinary performance last night. many people call it one of the great grand slam events. back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: bob woodward is here, he has been a reporter for the "washington post" for more than 40 years. he has been a prolific author ever since he and carl bernstein wrote the watergate scandal in 1972. he's just completed his 17th book. he takes us inside the room once again, this time for a look at the federal debt ceiling crisis
of summer of twaefr. his countless hours of research and interviews uncover what went on between the white house and republican congressional leaders in those crucial weeks. the book is called "the price of politics." and i pleased to have bob woodward back at this table. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: so tell me, was this different at all in terms of other books you've written about this administration, the bush administration in any way in terms of the process? in terms of testimony questions? everything. >> the bush books and the first obama book i did were about wars when the commander in chief is dealing with his generals and his staff and his secretary of defense. so it's not as contentious. but this obama had to deal with a very dug-in republican majority in the house so it was a battle roy y'all. it was much more contentious.
>> rose: you suggest the consequences were every bit as important as the crisis over the 2008 subprime crisis and the lehman brothers fall which led to the panic of september, 2008. >> in fact, it's an ongoing crisis because this is what happened last year and some this year. but it isn't over. the whole business about... people talk about budgets and debt ceiling and they think, oh, somehow that's for economists and journalists and people in congress and the white house but in fact, it affects everyone's life. if the federal government can't pay its bills-- and we're going to revisit this problem in about three or four months because the authorization from congress to pay the bills and support the debt is going to be over and so we're going to be back in the
soup again. and... >> rose: because they only gave an extension and they also had a penalty if nothing was reached. >> yes. and so we are... we are at the... i mean, this is a moment of peril. i go back to watergate or vietnam or 9/11 or the lehman brothers crisis of 2008, the financial crisis which were big. this one, we're living it right now. and we have got the government, the white house, and the congress have to figure some way out. and we're in the midst of a presidential campaign and they aren't talking about it. because it's kind of... it will mean people have to compromise and get off their talking points and they do not want to do that. and so we've got the biggest crisis which goes unmentioned in a presidential election. makes no sense.
>> rose: makes no sense and has consequences. but is there one villain? >> no. i mean, as i say there's a lot of good-faith effort here. you know, if you're looking for why things blew up last year and all of these things turn on moments and there is a moment in july when the six senators, the gang of six, come out and say "we can do greater revenue than obama has offered the republican >> rose: this is essentially six members of the senate financial committee. >> and budget committees. but it's three republicans also. so this lands unexpectedly at the white house. david plouffe, the former obama campaign manager who is the senior political advisor in the white house hears this, thinks
it's a watershed moment, goes to obama and the staff and says "now, wait a minute this is a big deal. i think it will give boehner more maneuvering room. the congressional liaison chief, rob neighbors, very important figure the white house tells the president, look, you will be the weak... be seen as the weakest president in all of history if you don't offer more revenue." so the president picks up the phone, calls boehner and makes this offer. it is... that is the hinge in all of this. >> rose: so what's the offer the president makes? >> the president makes an offer and says well, i'd like more revenue or i would like an adjustment on entitlements. >> rose: now, at that moment what had they agreed on? >> they had a framework that they were going to do tax reform
revenue and that they were going do some sort of entitlement reform. it was vague. >> rose: how vague was it? >> it was too vague, but... >> rose: did the republicans talk about all the cuts they would make and obama talk about what entitlements he would... >> no. there was... i've seen all and got the paper on this and it's... it's general. >> rose: why am i not surprised? >> but it... like the first offer from the white house was "we will make a big adjustment in medicare over ten years, we'll cut $15 billion." well, that's nothing. boehner and his staff saw that and they went "what the... is going on here? is this a real negotiation?" >> and what could have... suppose boehner had said okay, look we'll give you this adjustment, we hear you, we've got this plan coming over from the gang of six that has to do
with republicans and the senate side, so we'll go, we'll agree with you, we'll go to our caucus or whoever they went to and get it done. could he have gotten it done or would the tea party have said, as is conventional wisdom, no way. >> boehner when he heard this offer he called eric cantor, the majority leader who's connected to the tea party and cantor's chief of staff... >> rose: bruce jackson or something? >> no, this is someone for cantor, a bald headed guy, a former army intel officer kind of fearless. and boehner says... >> rose: jock jack son is over for boehner. >> that's right. but this is a fascinating... highly unusual moment where they asked boehner well, how many votes for more additional revenue do you think you you'll be able to get? and boehner says about 170.
the chief of staff says to the speaker of the house "you're crazy. you're crazy." and cantor backs him up and they think he would only get about 50 votes. >> rose: not 170. >> not 170. >> rose: so what does that say about the speaker of the house knowing where his members are? >> well, exactly. but then he did some soundings and wouldn't call the president back and then finally backed out of the deal. >> rose: as the president was trying to reach him? >> yes. >> rose: wouldn't call him back. >> wouldn't call him back for a day. again, unheard of. and the president was furious, confused. he had... he... as i report in there, the big dpra draa drama was he had no plan "b", no fallback position. so then the next day obama calls noepsz and reid, the democratic leaders down the white house to see what's going on because they're working out a deal and,
again, it's the chief of staff... >> rose: harry reid, leader of the democrats in the house and in the senate... in the senate and nancy pelosi leader of the democrats in the house. >> exactly. this is obama's team, 6:00 sunday night they're meeting in the oval office and the democrats are working out a deal with the republicans that the president doesn't like. at all. and harry reid starts to lay it out and he said, no, i'll turn to my chief of staff, david crone, who presents the plan and then says to the president of the united states "i'm very disappointed in this white house and you because you don't have a plan "b." " and the president gets a little upset and they go back and forth and people in the room who i talked to couldn't believe that the chief of staff to the senate leader is chewing the president out in the oval office
never heard of anything like that. >> rose: so what's the lesson of all this? what's the story? what's the headline? >> the headline is better start talking about this in the campaign because we've got... what's the own plan, what's the romney plan? but the other thing is, when you try to peel the onion on this it's all about political will and compromise. >> rose: is obama good at that? >> sometimes. on this he did not fix it. and it hangs over us. i tell you, the average person in the united states doesn't realize if this isn't straightened out in some form and we get a default or we go to the brink again people... the value of their homes, the bank accounts they have, any investments, anything of monetary value is going to be in
jeopardy. and we are really on the cliff. obama knows it; boehner knows it; the economists know it. and we've got a presidential campaign going on and everyone's whistling past it. >> rose: couple things. number one, after this sort of blew up, that's when obama said "i'm out of here, i'm going to campaign, i'm take my case to the american people." and the republicans will start saying "we have nobody to negotiate with. he's on the campaign trail." >> but the way they fix this-- and, again, this is all new information-- it was joe biden, the vice president, who in the west wing they called biden the mcconnell whisperer. mcconnell is the senate minority leader, runs the senate republicans which are... >> rose: so biden can whisper in his ear? >> whisper and had a relationship going back decades where they could work deals where... which was essentially
predicated on "i know i'm not going to get all my way or you're not going to get all your way, one for you; one for me." and in this case they agreed to take the debt limit beyond the election which was critical for obama and what did mcconnell get out of it? the guarantee there would be no tax increases from the deal. and they worked it out in a phone call and that kind of relationship, that kind of ability to whisper or cajole or make a deal, one for you; one for me works and sometimes you have to do it. biden again was the one who was brought in to work a deal to extend the bush tax cuts in 2010 worked it out with mcconnell. >> rose: wasn't there a conversation between joe biden and eric cantor in which biden said-- or cantor said-- you know
if it were just the two of us we could make this work. >> rose: exactly. exactly. because they had preliminary negotiations on this. they identified things for cuts. and it would have been part of some final deal. but, i mean, here's the question that can't be answered. both obama when i talked to him and boehner essentially said they didn't know where the votes would be for some sort of compromise or deal. but they felt that if they went out together, stood before the american public and the congress and said "we've got a deal, this will work" this the momentum and the moral authority of their offices would have carried it over the finish line. we won't know, never got there. but that's possible. sometimes that happens in american politics.
>> many people looked at lyndon johnson, for example, and said if lyndon johnson were there he could have made this work because he knew the congress and fully understood the power of the presidency and he could have made this work. could a different president have made this work? >> look, it's the president's job to make it work. and as larry summers is quoted telling people, larry summers was the chief economic czar in the white house for obama in the first two years. was the treasury secretary for clinton and summers said, you know, obama doesn't have the joy of the game. that, in fact, in terms of the people in congress he doesn't like them. >> rose: doesn't like the people in congress? >> doesn't like them. and the people in the congress know that and there is this distance which obama's paying the price for. >> rose: paying a price for it because of the economic circumstances that we now face? >> and because they can't deal.
you know, you've got to do painful things. reagan, the great tax cutter. you know, reagan raised taxes all the time. raised business taxes when people called him out on it you know what he did? he's walking down the driveway in the white house and he kicked himself with one foot in the ass. >> rose: (laughs) >> and everyone laughed, just like you're laughing. and, okay, necessity, compromise they had to raise business taxes. >> rose: how much has the president spelled out to republicans in a concrete way where he would be prepared to cut entitlements? >> he is not. i've seen this paper back and forth and it starts small and get big and says we're willing to cut medicare for $250 billion
that's a lot of money. that's small, $25 billion a year given the amount of money that's being spent on medicare. it would be possible. look, at the... the way you get out of all of them this the taxing problem and the entitlement problem is reform. you need to have real reform. hate to do this. go back to reagan. tax reform in 1986, they cut rates from 40% to 28% by eliminating a lot of loopholes. it was hard, it was contentious. >> rose: there's the problem. you know much better than i do. the problem is right there. nobody is prepared either in these conventions or anywhere else to be specific. paul ryan will not tell you about what deductions they are prepared to eliminate in order to see some reduction in tax rates which they want to see on the other hand, they will say the president is not prepared to tell you what he's willing to do on entitlements.
so you have both sides saying we don't know where the other side is prepared to go. on the other hand boehner says i went a long way and couldn't get them... >> well, boehner did go a long way. boehner offered tax reform and he's the one who initiated these talks. it wasn't obama calling him. it was boehner calling obama and saying "we've got to try to do something." and they had the... what are now known as the nicorette and merlo meeting. >> rose: tell the nicorette thing, what what that says about obama and what... what boehner thought it said about the difference between obama and him. >> rose: >> in one of their early meetings in july they're on their patio, off the oval office it's hot and boehner says "all you need to know about the difference between myself and the president is that i'm smoking a cigarette and the
president is drinking iced tea and chomping on a nicorette to break the smoking habit." or to continue to break the smoking habit. >> rose: so can you say without question or qualification or... that this was a failure of leadership by president obama? >> i think it's a failure to impose his will and work out a compromise. >> rose: impose his will on republicans. >> on republicans but on the system and make some compromises and so forth. sure, look, the president is... they talk about this in the white house. if the economy falters, if we default on the debt the history books will say "it happened on the obama presidency." not the john boehner period. >> rose: the president will make
the following points "yes, bob, i could not control the republican party and the caucus and the tea party members of that party. but on the other hand i did get from my friends and my supporters in the house of representatives who were to the left of where i was a commitment to give me room to negotiate. i got that the from them." >> he did not, though. >> rose: well, nancy pelosi said he did. >> no, no, no. listen... >> rose: it gave him room to negotiate. >> they gave him some flexibility but when obama said "we're going to cut medicare" nancy pelosi said to him "oh, my god, if we do that that will make the republicans well on the ryan budget." and we can't do that. there was a great deal of resistance and harry reid was going his own way on this. so obama did not corral the democrats and boehner certainly did not corral the republicans. >> rose: so it was a failure of
leadership on john boehner's part as well. >> indeed! indeed. >> rose: because they didn't owe their election to him, they owed it to something else. >> there's a war going on in the republican party. and if you are the leader, the speaker of the house, and you have the tea party which will not compromise on things that you think are essential to the fundamental operation of the government you have to call them in, you have to call their leader in, you have to call eric cantor in and say it's you or me. >> i get a bit of flexibility on the part of eric cantor which surprised me in your book. >> yes, i think there is. part of it is he doesn't want to be blamed for a collapse. he understands the reality of it. but he's more conservative and he's allied with the tea party. this is not to take the tea party off the hook. but you... you know, i... what
do... and here's the question: what do you expect of a president in terms of leadership? you can't... franklin roosevelt won world war ii and it was hard. it was harder than any of this stuff. he couldn't go to the country and say "you know, we've been bombed by the japanese, the germans are in the war, this is going to be hard, it's not going to work" and then not fix it, not win the war? no. you have to go at it with a kind of intensity, intellectual and physical commitment to make sure. and what's missing here-- and this is... summer's point-- that obama doesn't like these people. he's not connected to these people. when he goes to play golf he goes with buddies. when he plays poker, who plays poker with him? >> rose: except for one show match with...
>> believe me, not john boehner or eric cantor. no, he should have his time to relax. but as we know, bill clinton would be on the phone... i remember it was senator dodd telling me when clinton was president he got a call at midnight. "we need to do this on the budget." and in the background he heard the snapping of playing cards. and he realized that clinton was talking to him and playing solitary at the same time. and you need... what do you do as president? you have to be all in. >> rose: much has been written about the president's great love for his family and his responsibility as a father of young girls to want to be there for them at dinner. >> sure. >> rose: michael lewis reports-- who spent a lot of time close up with president obama-- but michael says at 10:00 the kids are in bed and mrs. obama is in bed. he's up from 10:00 to 1:00
calling foreign leaders, looking at his ipad, reading things. now, that's probably a good time to get chummy with members of the congress that could help you wouldn't it? >> listen, if you want... i mean one of the things that i report in the book is jack lou, who's now the white house chief of staff who was the budget director during much of this back and forth, he worked for tip o'neill when tip o'neill made the deal with reagan on social security. and the point lou makes is that it would be un... that reagan, tip o'neill disagreed on just about everything, but they had this relationship where they could talk and they knew they had to accomplish certain things like save social security in 1983 which they did. now, this does not speak well at
all for the way the house republicans operated, but when obama wanted to get a phone call returned they wouldn't call him back. jack lou was running through the white house tearing out his hair. >> rose: they would not call him back because they were embarrassed say what they had to say or because they didn't think he respected them or because... >> no, because they hadn't worked out the what the deal was going to be. they were trying to work a congressional deal. but jack lou is running through the white house saying "what? the president does not get a phone call returned from the speaker of the house?" and he's right about that. you should be able to have that kind of communication and they should have the kind of relationship where obama should be able to say to somebody on boehner's staff "get him on the phone, i want to talk right now." but they didn't have it. you know, when the election in
2010 as i lay out and the republicans won the house, nobody had the phone number... >> rose: why wouldn't boehner take the call? i know it's come out... when they wanted to congratulate him. what did boehner say when you asked him why wouldn't you take a phone call from the president of the united states? >> two answers: he's trying to work out a deal with congressional leaders, which he was in the process of doing. >> rose: that's easy enough to say to the president "mr. president, i'm not there yet, i'm working on it, call you back." >> exactly. obama made the exact point to me. he didn't understand it. you could have called and said "hang on, i'm working on it. i'm worried about...". >> rose: and where can i reach you? >> but, look, this is how our government is working. >> rose: fair enough. >> people use the word dysfunction, it is... look, they're putting everything at peril. every one at peril. >> rose: but i'm telling you, anybody that... any reasonable person and logical person would listen to what you said and
you're putting more fault at the foot of the president than you are at the foot of the congress because you believe the presidency is... has the responsibility for leadership at this moment. >> rose: it does. it always does. it always has, that's the way the system is built. historically just over the last decades the increasing amount of authority in the presidency-- not just under bush and cheney but under obama-- has grown! so we live in the obama era, not the john boehner era. not the eric cantor era. not... we live in the obama era. in my discussion with him he realizes that responsibility. he said he tried, it's laid out, the obstacles he had and the level of effort and the level of effort was not successful.
>> rose: simpson-bowles. if the president had supported simpson-bowles enthusiastically, he said he had reservations because he thought some of the deductions they wanted might imperil the middle-class. he had reservations about the size of the defense cuts. but other democrats supported it and alan simpson a republican and erskine bowles a democrat, o give him cover, he didn't support it. >> he didn't. so i asked him about that and here's what president obama said: that the closing of deductions for the home mortgage interest deduction for the health care deduction... >> rose: not the primary mortgage, it the second home, isn't it? >> no, no, it could be part of... simpson-bowles was vague.
and also the charitable deduction. obama said very plainly he said that would be wildly unpopular and would not pass congress. i think he's right. but i think there is a way... >> rose: so it gets the journey started, doesn't it? >> it could. >> rose: some people are saying we believe in this and it gives us a place to... because boehner has said, you know, that they're... they were playing off of the sifrp simpson-bowles play book. >> yes. in part. particularly on tax reform. and you could get it going and... but they didn't get it going. and, you know, this is not just a story of what... excuse me, what happened last summer, this is a story of... about what happened over three and a half years. and you get to a point where, for instance, the supercommittee was supposed to come up with a bunch of cuts and john boehner was running around saying this absolutely has been is going to
work, there's no problem. he made a secret offer of $600 billion in revenue cults, revenue additions, sorry, under some some sort of tax reform. that totally blew apart. just went absolutely nowhere. senator mcconnell, the republican leader, i went up to talk to him and he... he laze this at the feet of the president. he said, look, the president was nowhere to be seen in this negotiation and, you know, some people are going to look at that and are going to say it's a fair point. >> rose: mitch mcconnell, though said "our primary goal as republicans is to defeat barack obama, not to do what's in the best interest of the country." >> no, again, not... he did say that, but he also in the same interview said i don't want obama to fail. i want him to change. >> rose: right, right. >> and that's... that's
different. that's not to defend mcconnell. look, he's a hard ass in so many ways and so forth. but on this key issue of cutting $1.2 trillion and avoiding this dreaded sequester where was the president? the president made two phone calls as best i can tell to people to say, oh, yeah, let's get this done. i don't want to be a prophet about this, but it's going to explode. you talk about simpson and bowles, they're running all around the country and have been for a couple of years saying this is... >> rose: erskine bowles and alan simpson. >> yeah! saying we've got to fix this. we've got to do something about it. and, you know, they're pretty dedicated people and i think they're sick at heart that there has not been progress. >> rose: i've seen them enough to know. they are. "the price of politics" by bob woodward. thank you for joining us. see you next time.